Florida Amendments Voting Guide

When Florida voters go to the polls for the general election, they'll find their ballot is extra long. Voters are being asked to decide on 12 amendments to the Florida Constitution.

The amendment issues vary widely -- and in some cases you have multiple issues in the same amendment.

Remember, all amendments must be approved by 60 percent of Florida voters to be added to the constitution.

Use this guide to help you better understand all the amendments before you turn in your ballot.

Amendment 8 was removed from the ballot and will not be included.

In her role as host, anchor Ybeth Bruzual asks the tough questions and demands honest answers from the Orlando area's most prominent politicians.

Watch it Sundays at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The Amendments

AMENDMENT 1

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies. The amendment shall take effect January 1, 2019.

  • YES VOTE -- Adds a third homestead exemption for homeowners who have greater than $100,000 in taxable value in their homes.
  • NO VOTE -- Rejects the amendment

Amendment 1 Full Text | Making Sense of the Amendment

IN FOCUS

Our weekly issues show took a closer look at Amendment 1. 

AMENDMENT 2

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified nonhomestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019. 

  • YES VOTE -- Makes caps on property tax assessments for nonhomestead property permanent.
  • NO VOTE -- Rejects the amendment

Amendment 2 Full Text | Making Sense of Amendment 2

AMENDMENT 3

This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts. 

  • YES VOTE -- Strips power to authorize casino cambling from Florida Legislature and allows it by citizens initiative only
  • NO VOTE -- Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 3 | Making Sense of the Amendment

IN FOCUS

Our weekly issues show took a closer look at Amendment 3. 

AMENDMENT 4

This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis. 

  • YES VOTE -- Allows some felons who have completed all the terms of their sentence to have their voting rights restored
  • NO VOTE -- Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 4 | Making Sense of the Amendment

IN FOCUS

Our weekly issues show took a closer look at Amendment 4. 

AMENDMENT 5

Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district. 

  • YES VOTE -- Florida lawmakers will not be able to raise a tax or fee unless it's approved by two-thirds of the Florida House and Senate each, and it must be in a single-issue bill.
  • NO VOTE -- Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 5 | Making Sense of the Amendment

AMENDMENT 6

Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age. 

A YES VOTE:

  1.  Expands constitutional rights of victims in the constitution
  2. Eliminates an existing provision that victims' rights don't infringe on the rights of the accused
  3. Raises the mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices and judges to 75 from 70
  4. Prohibits courts and judges from using a state agency's interpretation of a law when deciding on cases

A NO VOTE:

  1. Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 6 | Making Sense of Amendment 6

AMENDMENT 7

Grants mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties. Requires supermajority votes by university trustees and state university system board of governors to raise or impose all legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval by those bodies. Establishes existing state college system as constitutional entity; provides governance structure. 

A YES VOTE:

  1. Will not allow universities' boards of trustees and the state Board fo Governors to increase student fees or create new ones without supermajority approval
  2. Adds the governing framework for state colleges to the Florida Constitution
  3. State and local governments must pay death benefits to first responders
  4. Requires the state to pay death benefits to members of the military who are either stationed in Florida or are residents of the state.

A NO VOTE:

  1. Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 7 | Making Sense of the Amendment

AMENDMENT 9

Prohibits drilling for the exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high water line and the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Adds use of vapor-generating electronic devices to current prohibition of tobacco smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces with exceptions; permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances. 

A YES VOTE:

  1. Put a ban on oil and gas drilling in Florida waters in the constitution
  2. Creates a ban on using electronic vaping devices indoors, similar to the Constitution's ban on indoor smoking
  3. Exempts homes, bars, vaping retailers and hotel rooms from the ban
  4. Allows local governments to pass stricter regulations on the use of vaping devices

A NO VOTE:

  1. Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 9 | Making Sense of the Amendment

IN FOCUS

Our weekly issues show took a closer look at Amendment 9. 

AMENDMENT 10

Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even- numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism within department of law enforcement. 

A YES VOTE:

  1. Forces all counties, even those with specific rules in their charters, to hold elections for sheriff, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, tax collector and clerk of circuit court.
  2. Forces the Florida Legislature to always have a Dept. of Veterans' Affairs
  3. Creates an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism within FDLE
  4. Moves the start of the Florida Legislative Session to the second Tuesday in January in even-numbered years

A NO VOTE:

  1. Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 10 | Making of the Sense of the Amendment

IN FOCUS

Our weekly issues show took a closer look at Amendment 10. 

AMENDMENT 11

Removes discriminatory language related to real property rights. Removes obsolete language repealed by voters. Deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment; retains current provision allowing prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of a criminal statute. 

A YES VOTE:

  1. Repeals a provision that allows the Legislature to restrict the property rights of non-citizens
  2. Deletes the language in the constitution regarding high speed rail that was repealed by voters in 2004.
  3. Deletes language that requires the state to prosecute suspects under the provisions of the law they are accused of breaking, even if the law is changed by the legislature.

A NO VOTE:

  1. Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 11 | Making Sense of the Amendment

AMENDMENT 12

Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit. 

A YES VOTE:

  1. Expands the ban on state lobbying by legislators and statewide elected officials to 6 years after leaving office
  2. Expands the ban to prohibit lobbying federal and local government agencies while in office
  3. Prohibits top state agency officials from lobbying until 6 years after leaving office
  4. Bans local elected officials from getting paid to lobby anyone while in office and for 6 years after leaving office
  5. Bans judges from lobbying any branch of government for 6 years after leaving the bench
  6. Bans any elected officials or public employee from using their position to gain a "disproportionate benefit."

A NO VOTE:

  1. Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 12 | Making Sense of the Amendment

IN FOCUS

Our weekly issues show took a closer look at Amendment 12. 

AMENDMENT 13

Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected. 

  • YES VOTE -- Bans all dog racing in Florida by Dec. 31, 2020
  • NO VOTE -- Rejects the amendment

Full text of Amendment 13 | Making Sense of the Amendment

IN FOCUS

Our weekly issues show took a closer look at Amendment 13. 

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